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House of Travel
There's something very European about Buenos Aires. Perhaps it's the layout of the city, the sprawling boulevards and parks reminiscent of life in Barcelona. Maybe it's in the food, which shuns the spicy cuisine typically found in Latin America, favouring instead rich French flavours. French influence continues to shine through in the architecture of the buildings and sculptures that lace the city.
The parallels are so strong that some refer to the city as the Paris of South America. Certainly, the people of Buenos Aires are as passionate and colourful as their French counterparts, and are fiercely proud of their heritage.
The shopping on offer mirrors these qualities - passion and colour - and the city contains enough quality boutiques, markets and malls to rival some of the best in Europe.
Check out our guide to Buenos Aires, a shopper's kingdom. Here's your first tip: You might want to bring an extra suitcase.
The hip district of Palermo Soho is your first stop for all things boutique. The shopping here is modern, contemporary and chic, attracting travellers, expats and hip young locals to wander the streets in search of that perfect piece of clothing. The area is a chock-a-block with Buenos Aires' finest boutique goods, offering trendy designer-wear and accessories. What makes Palermo Soho unique is that most of the shops are set in tastefully restored vintage homes and warehouses.
It might look pretentious, but Palermo Soho isn't trying to be cool - it just naturally is. Buy some threads and join the cool kids.
There are book stores and then there are book stores. Al Ateneo Grand Splendid falls into the latter category, and may just be the best book store you'll ever see in your life. Luxuriously housed in what used to be a 20th-century theatre, Al Ateneo Grand Splendid is an architectural beauty and worthy of a visit, even if you're not a big reader. The building was lovingly renovated in 2000, the theatre's seating replaced with bookshelves while retaining the majestic character and finishing details of the original structure.
Argentina is internationally renowned for the quality and affordability of its leather goods. The district of Villa Crespo, the leather-working capital of Buenos Aires, has a great selection of outlets offering both men's and women's leather jackets, shoes, belts and other accessories in a variety of styles at a reasonable price. The stores are plentiful and easy to find.
Florida Street, teeming with bargain-hunting tourists, also has some great leather stores. Haggling's not common in Argentina, but Florida is an exception to this rule.
For an authentic shopping experience, head to the San Telmo Sunday Fair. Situated in San Telmo, the oldest district in Buenos Aires, the market opens every Sunday morning and draws crowds of locals and tourists alike to meander along the cobblestone streets. The market is a huge maze of artisan goods, and the stalls spill out along streets for several blocks. Here, you'll find everything you could ever want, including souvenirs, antiques, clothing, accessories, food and a whole lot more.
Set in a beautiful historical building on Florida Street, Galerias Pacifico Shopping Mall boasts an extensive collection of Argentine brands as well as famous international labels. However, it's the architecture of the building that separates Galerias Pacifico from the city's other malls - be sure to have a look at the jaw-dropping ceiling murals on the first floor and the building's cavernous glass ceiling.
There's a great food court on the ground floor offering tasty and affordable meals if you need to refuel after a hard day of shopping.
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